Advanced Macular Degeneration Treatment in Fair Lawn, NJ
Macular degeneration is a chronic eye disease that affects the central portion of the retina called the macula. Located at the very back of your eye, the retina contains special cells that gather light and transmit it via the optic nerve to your brain. The macula is the part of the retina that’s responsible for central vision necessary for reading, watching TV, using a computer, and even recognizing faces. Macular degeneration is far more common among older people, which is why it’s often referred to as age-related macular degeneration or AMD. About 10 million men and women in the U.S. suffer from macular degeneration — more than glaucoma and cataracts combined. As a top optometrist in Fair Lawn, NJ, Resident Eye Care Associates offers state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment tailored to each patient’s unique needs.
Causes of Macular Degeneration
There are two types of AMD:
- Dry AMD is the more common type, occurring when the macular tissue thins out as a result of aging. The dry form is associated with less serious vision loss compared to wet AMD.
- Sometimes, dry AMD progresses to the wet form of the disease. In this stage, new blood vessels form in the retina, leaking fluid beneath the retina and damaging the light-sensitive cells. Sometimes, the fluid can cause retinal detachment. Wet AMD is associated with more serious vision loss.
AMD is more common among people who:
- are older
- are obese
- are former or current smokers
- have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- have light-colored eyes
Recent research shows people with AMD are more likely to have certain genes that predispose them to the disease.
Macular Degeneration Diagnosis
Macular degeneration diagnosis begins with a comprehensive eye exam to look for signs and symptoms of the disease. Macular degeneration exams involve a series of evaluations to assess your vision and your retina, including:
- Visual Acuity Test – This test uses an eye chart to evaluate your vision. Since AMD symptoms can occur in one eye and not the other, each eye will be evaluated individually. Your visual field (central vision as well as peripheral vision) also may be assessed.
- Ophthalmoscopy – This exam uses a special scope to look at the back portion of your eye so the optometrist can look for early signs of the disease, including yellowish spots called drusen. Most people have some small drusen as a result of aging, but in AMD, the drusen tend to be bigger and more numerous.
- Amsler grid test – This test uses a lined grid to look for symptoms associated with the wet form of AMD. If you have wet AMD, the lines of the grid will appear curved or wavy rather than straight. You also might see a blank spot on the grid.
- Eye angiogram or optical coherence tomography (OCT) – These tests use computer technology to look for signs and symptoms associated with abnormal blood vessel growth or leakage in the tiny vessels in the back of your eye.
Macular Degeneration Treatment
To date, there’s no cure for macular degeneration, but the progression of the disease can be slowed to help prevent vision loss. Macular degeneration treatment relies on regular exams to assess the progress of the disease so your treatment can be tailored to your needs. In addition, dietary supplements may be prescribed to help slow the disease, and for those with the wet form of AMD, laser treatments may be recommended to treat vessel-related symptoms. It’s also important to quit smoking, follow a healthy diet and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays.
Treatment for Macular Degeneration in Fair Lawn, NJ
If you’ve been diagnosed with AMD or you’re at risk for the disease, you need to do all you can to help prevent vision loss and blindness. To learn more about macular degeneration exams or to learn about treatment for macular degeneration in Fair Lawn, NJ, contact Resident Eye Care Associates at (201) 797-2747 and schedule an appointment today.